Today is the 41st day of this year’s legislative session, and the last day for lawmakers to introduce bills in their respective houses. There were 117 bills introduced during today’s floor sessions as delegates and senators tried to beat the deadline.
Senate President Jeff Kessler said there’s no particular strategy to introducing bills late in the session. He said oftentimes, these late pieces of legislation sometimes are bills lawmakers have promised constituents they would introduce and just haven’t had time yet, or bills spurred by recent developments. He said bills are sometimes introduced late in the session simply because their sponsoring legislator has procrastinated putting them in the hopper.
Lucky for your, the Daily Mail statehouse crew has very little time to procrastinate. Here’s a rundown of today’s stories.
- Secretary of Administration Russ Taylor named Gregory Melton as the department’s new General Services Director. He starts the job April 1, replacing former director David Oliverio, who abruptly quit his job earlier this month. We still don’t know why.
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller is taking on the cruise industry, as Daily Mail business editor (and former statehouse reporter) Jared Hunt reports in today’s paper. Rockefeller says the industry needs to do a better job of regulating itself, believes the industry needs to do a better job regulating itself, and wants Congress to repeal tax provisions allowing the companies to register ships in foreign ports, thus evading American corporate taxes.
- West Virginia deputies are one step closer to receiving bulletproof vests. As Dave reports, a bill that would give ballistic vests to sheriff’s deputies when they earn their law enforcement certification came up for its first reading in the House of Delegates today.
- A local gun group has released a video criticizing Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, for his lack of support for HB 2760. That’s the controversial bill that would eliminate all city and county gun regulations. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has been an outspoken critic of the bill, and Palumbo has said he doesn’t like the legislation, either. The video says Palumbo should act on the bill “or there will be consequences.” Sen. Herb Snyder has reportedly received death threats over the legislation.
- The State Police recently changed a policy to allow certain groups to receive federal background check results for potential volunteers, employees and foster families. This fixes a cumbersome (and, some say, dangerous) problem with state background check procedures. Also, the state’s background check contractor MorphoTrust is continuing to make improvements after damning testimonies at a January interim meeting.